Heat death toll rises to 13 in Oklahoma

The heat-related death toll in Oklahoma has risen to 13, officials said. The record high temperature for Aug. 3 in Oklahoma City was broken Wednesday with a high of 109, but the record for hottest day recorded in the city wasn't approached as expected.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: August 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 3, 2011

Two more heat-related deaths were confirmed Wednesday, pushing the state's death toll this summer to 13.

The July 7 death of Preston Mayhan, 8, of Cyril, was confirmed as heat-related, state medical examiner's spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said. Mayhan had crawled inside his mother's car trunk.

The death of an 85-year-old man found dead Tuesday in his Hartshorne home also was heat-related, Ballard said. His name was not released.

Ten other deaths are being investigated for links to the heat, Ballard said.

The temperature in Oklahoma City on Wednesday rose to 109 degrees, breaking the Aug. 3 record of 106 set three years ago, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters initially thought the all-time Oklahoma City heat record of 113 could be broken Wednesday, but wind shifts, slightly elevated humidity and late-afternoon rain in some parts of the metro area staved off the last few degrees.

Afternoon storms

A thunderstorm erupted in Oklahoma City that dropped the temperature nearly 20 degrees in an hour.

The storm dumped .81 inches of rain within an hour in western Oklahoma City, according to the Mesonet, and winds of 50 mph were recorded with the storm.

Three females were injured when a piece of flying debris struck them at White Water Bay. A 13-year-old girl, a 24-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman were struck while standing under a covered area at the park. A piece of building debris carried by a wind gust struck them, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said. The three were taken to local hospitals in good condition.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 44 also were closed between NW 10 and Interstate 40 for about an hour after a light pole fell across the highway because of high winds, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The temperature was 108 degrees just before 4 p.m. at Will Rogers World Airport. An hour later, the temperature reading was 91 degrees, according to the weather service.

“The consensus here is that it was a wet microburst or a wet downburst,” said meteorologist Brian Holland, with the weather service in Norman.

“On a day like today, when there's not a lot of upper-level winds and with all the heating at the surface, you get a pretty unstable atmosphere, and it basically collapses back down on itself so you get a lot of rain or hail in one place. The one thing that's important today that makes it different from the other hot days is we had this weak front draped across the area, so that's what triggered the storm,” Holland said.

Water usage still too high in Oklahoma City



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